The Kegel Myth and Why You Should Start With Breathing Instead

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Ok gals.  You have been lied to.  Women all over the world have been told for a couple of generations now that the cure all to ALL pelvic health and bladder issues is to KEGEL.

Say what??

When you read this, do you know what that even means?

Were we supposed to be born with an innate understanding of the word and EXACTLY how to execute this magical exercise?  Because I sure did NOT get that gift and neither did ANY of my patients for like the past 8 years as I have treated pelvic floor dysfunction as a pelvic health specialist.

And in a previous blog post last year, I chatted about why this kegel thing is NOT the best place to look for a remission of your bladder and pelvic woes.  So I’m here to tell you where you should probably START.

With BREATHING.

Yep.  As simple and maybe even woo woo as it sounds, you need to FIRST get good at breathing with your diaphragm.

WHY?  Because your pelvic floor is a part of a TEAM of muscles.  We cannot squarely blame JUST the pelvic floor for our issues.  So let’s look at this system or TEAM.

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And now I would like you to think about a soda can…

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If that soda can was sealed, you and I could be pretty sure that if we stood on top of it, that it would NOT collapse.  NOT because of the wimpy material (aluminum), but because of the strength that comes from a sealed pressure system. THIS is EXACTLY what we have with the core muscle team.

But our soda can MOVES or should move as we breathe and move.  When we INHALE, the diaphragm should drop down to let the lungs above inflate.  The pelvic floor or pelvic diaphragm should ALSO move DOWN to MAINTAIN THIS PRESSURE.

The BIGGEST problem for MOST of my patients is that THIS coordination between the top and bottom of the soda can goes astray somewhere along the way.

THEY STOP WORKING AS A TEAM.

So no matter HOW MANY KEGELS a person does, if their core muscle team is NOT acting like a team, they will not be able to manage this intra-abdominal pressure and there WILL be a LOSS of pressure.

THE RESULT?  Likely, bladder leakage with coughing or sneezing or just and INCREASE in pressure at the pelvic floor that WILL EVENTUALLY LEAD TO ORGAN PROLAPSE.  Any structure will FAIL if given enough trauma or repetitive loading.

So let’s check out this video of how we should be breathing to get started towards a much healthier core muscle system and resolve those pelvic health issues (leaking, prolapse, and even pain).

So if you say to yourself, “yah, I’ve done those kegels and they didn’t help” or “I thought about doing kegels to help my issue”, I would DEFINITELY ENCOURAGE you to start with BREATHING.

Just had a baby not too long ago?

Start with breathing.

Have pelvic pain from time to time, with painful periods or pain with sex?

Start with breathing.

Think you may have something going on like a prolapse in the pelvic region and are not sure what it is yet?

Start with breathing.

Are we clear on that?

And if you are not sure if you have any pelvic floor dysfunction or want more answers?

Take our pelvic dysfunction quiz.  It can help guide you towards what may be going on and what to talk to your doctor or pelvic health therapist about.

So before you click away from this post... TAKE 5 BELLY BREATHS!!!